(NAFB)--Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley and Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly have introduced legislation to protect livestock and poultry farmers from having personal information released by the Environmental Protection Agency. The bill stems from the release of the personal information of more than 80-thousand livestock and poultry owners from across the country to three activist groups. Grassley’s office notes the EPA disclosed information on people in Iowa owning as few as one pig and an individual who owned 12 horses. In fact - he says a large number of those the EPA released data on did not meet the definition of a Consolidated Animal Feeding Operation. According to Grassley - this is just another in a pattern of egregious overreach by the federal bureaucracy. He says the idea that government knows best was bad for the IRS and is bad for the EPA. He says a lot of Iowans were concerned with the EPA’s actions and he can at least try to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
Donnelly says it is unacceptable that the EPA released the personal contact information of tens of thousands of poultry and livestock owners earlier this year. He says this blatant violation of privacy must not happen again. That’s why he’s urging Senators on both sides of the aisle to support the legislation - which does not prevent the EPA from collecting the information about where farmers’ operations are located and does not prevent EPA from disclosing information in the aggregate.
Grassley says transparency is good for accountability - bur argues putting the personal information of farmers in the hands of environmental activists makes no sense. Several Senators wrote the EPA in June regarding their concern with the agency’s release of personal information. Their response was unsatisfactory for Grassley and Donnelly. Grassley says it looks like the EPA isn’t going to end this reckless behavior - so it’s time for Congress to step in and fix the problem.
Grassley and Donnelly filed a similar amendment to the farm bill - but it wasn’t brought up by the Senate leadership for consideration.